Sunday, November 26, 2017

Internet good, internet bad

Before you get nervous, I consider the internet a lot more good than bad (I'm fully behind net neutrality, by the way).

There is so much good that has come from the internet from my perspective, both in my personal and professional life. Yet, there is so much disgusting, awful, shrill, what kind of cretins am I sharing the earth with, badness about it, too.

I encountered all of this in a matter of days recently, as it pertains to baseball cards.

The other day, I was wandering the blogs when I came across a card that never was of Gerald Hannahs from the creator of When Topps Had (Base) Balls. I naturally paused on the card because, one, it showed Hannahs as a Dodger, and two, almost nobody knows who Gerald Hannahs is or that he was a Dodgers prospect.

The people who do know his baseball days are people from my generation who grew up with the Dodgers. Sometimes they make card creations of Hannahs himself that later show up on CBS (more on that later).

That's because Hannahs was one of those prospects that appeared in the back of Dodger yearbooks in the late '70s/early '80s, meaning I had a great deal of hope for Hannahs.

Look, there he is grouped with Pedro Guerrero and Mike Scioscia, for crying out loud.

There he is again at the very top of the page (so you know he was going to be good). The write-up mentions Hannahs' most famous moment with the Dodgers, when he struck out Joe Morgan, Dave Concepcion and George Foster on just 11 pitches during a September game in 1979.

Hannahs was part of that group of Dodgers prospects that I hold dear to this day. People like Guerrero and Scioscia, Jack Perconte and Bobby Mitchell, Kelly Snider and Myron White. Besides, check out that glorious white man's afro that Hannahs wore back in the day.

Hannahs never received his own major league baseball card, so that's why I stopped fast on Gio's blog post of the pseudo '79 card. And then I read the text.

"1979 wouldn't fare much better for the lefty from Binghamton, N.Y. ..."


I'M from Binghamton, N.Y.!

There are so very few major leaguers from Binghamton and the surrounding "Twin Tiers" area, yet I had no idea that one of the natives was a former Dodger.

So I did a little research. Aside from the dudes who played one season back in 1909 or earlier, here are the major leaguers from the Triple Cities area where I grew up:

Mike Coolbaugh, 2001-02
Binghamton, N.Y.
Infield, Brewers, Cardinals

Scott Coolbaugh, 1989-94
Binghamton, N.Y.
Third base, Rangers, Padres, Cardinals

Doc Farrell, 1925-35
Johnson City, N.Y.
Utility infielder, Giants, Braves, Cardinals, Cubs, Red Sox

Rob Gardner, 1965-73
Binghamton, N.Y.
Pitcher, Mets, Cubs, Indians, Yankees, A's, Brewers

Bill Hallahan, 1925-38
Binghamton, N.Y.
Pitcher, Cardinals, Reds, Phillies
3-time WS champ, led league in wins in 1931

Gerry Hannahs, 1976-79
Binghamton, N.Y.
Pitcher, Expos, Dodgers

Jim Johnson, 2006-active
Johnson City, N.Y.
Pitcher, Orioles, A's, Tigers, Braves, Dodgers

Johnny Logan, 1951-63
Endicott, N.Y.
Shortstop, Braves, Pirates

Pete O'Brien, 1901-07
Binghamton, N.Y.
Infielder, Reds, Browns, Indians, Senators

Mel Queen, 1964-72
Johnson City, N.Y.
Pitcher, Reds, Angels

John Pawlowski, 1987-88
Johnson City, N.Y.
Pitcher, White Sox

There are other former players, like Mickey Scott, who weren't born in the area but grew up there and became associated with the Binghamton area, but still, there aren't a lot of them.

I had forgotten that Jim Johnson had pitched for the Dodgers (I'm sure it was a subconscious wish given his pitching for the team). So Johnson and Hannahs are the only natives from my area to have played for the Dodgers.

All of this information was gained from the internet and that's why the internet is good. So much knowledge obtained in such a short period of time.

I was so pleased to know that Hannahs was from the Binghamton area that I went right out and got one of the only cards of him that I know that exists, from one of my favorite sets, the 1980 TCMA Albuquerque Dukes set. That's the card you saw at the top of the post.

This is another good part of the internet. I can order up cards like that in an instant.

Not long after I received that Hannahs card, another Hannahs card arrived at my door. You'll see that in a later post, but that is yet another good part of the internet, people sending me cards through the connections I have made online.

So what else good did the internet offer? In my research on Hannahs, I had learned that he started with the Expos and was the first Expos pitcher to pitch a win in Olympic Stadium. What else was there about him? I needed to know.

It didn't take me long to turn up what's bad about the internet.

Hannahs is now known as the father of Dusty Hannahs, who starred in basketball for the University of Arkansas and was the topic of discussion during the NCAA Tournament last March. That was when the homemade card of Gerry Hannahs showed up on the TV screen from CBS.

CBS was discussing Dusty's dad and the family's athletic genes. It was then that Dusty relayed a story to a reporter about how a couple of times when he was growing up, when Gerry felt like Dusty hadn't performed well in a basketball game, that dad would lock Dusty out of the house, leaving only a basketball for additional practice outside.

Dusty wasn't bitter in telling the story. It was an interesting bit of color. But a slew of internet parents pounced immediately, screaming "CHILD ABUSE!" The outrage was in full effect, which is why when I did a search for Gerry Hannahs, one of the first things that the internet gave me was: "Did Dusty Hannah's dad commit child abuse ..."

For heaven's sake, internet.

Gerry Hannah's parenting style in this particular instance may not have been mine, but I would never judge anyone over a single, relayed, out-of-context story, let alone spew my opinions all over the interwebs. What right do I have to say anything about that?

And that is why I hate the internet. So much judgment. So much judgment of people who those doing the judging don't even know.

It's tasteless. It's ugly. It doesn't make anyone look good, most of all the person doing the judging. And I see it on the internet every day.

If the FCC in all of its wisdom could erase all of the online judging while it attacks net neutrality then that might be one good thing in this very bad move.

But even with all of the garbage I have to see, I still consider the internet more good than bad and why net neutrality must remain.

I have my Gerry Hannahs card and I have the internet to thank for it.


  1. I recently signed up for Twitter and in looking for people to follow I stumbled upon one user who was so judgemental, angry and "yell-y" that even though I technically didn't disagree with his position, I slowly (and virtually) backed away and said to myself "OMG, what have I done?" I made a mental note never to follow this person (who is someone I was about to follow until I saw the yelliness of his posts), and I've instead stayed happy with tweets about the hobby, USA Curling and "Weird Al" Yankovic.

    Jim Johnson is from Johnson City? That's awesome... and it seems like there is a Blazing Saddles joke in there somewhere.

    1. Can't go wrong with Weird Al.. Oddly enough I don't follow him on Twitter, but I do on Facebook..

  2. I hear you. Unfortunately, it isn't the Internet; it is people. Some people are just lame, especially when they can speak from the anonymity of a keyboard. What I try to do is simply pay no attention to the haters and skip all content that I find shallow, thoughtless, or mean-spirited. (That is one reason I like Night Owl Card so much!)

  3. I never write comments, so I don't even know what all these "Comment as" options are. But I just read your blog and thought it was great. First you reminded me of Jerry Hannahs - not as a Dodger but as an Expo winning the first game in the monstrosity known as Olympic Stadium. But even more importantly, your comments on the extraordinary judgmentalism that's going on - on the internet, in media and in society in general - were so bang on. It makes me long for the days when the only monstrosity was Olympic Stadium - and the Tom Seaver trade. Raphael Adams

  4. Counter point: F*** you all!!!

    (anyone that knows me better get I say that tongue in cheek. Except Gavin. Seriously - eff that guy)